Asia’s basketball king: Gilas Pilipinas downsizes Jordan to win gold after 6 decades

MANILA, Philippines – After 61 long years, the Philippines is Asia’s basketball champion again after edging Jordan, 70-60 in the Asian Games men’s basketball finals on Friday, October 6 in Hangzhou, China.

The Philippines is once again Asia’s basketball champion
The Philippines is once again Asia’s basketball champion after 61 long years! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! Photo Credit: Instagram/Scottie Thompson

Bad omen for the Philippines as Jordan made the first finals bucket from the outside. Scottie Thompson however, was quick to retaliate with his own trey to intensify the gold medal game.

Despite the Jordanians opening the game from a distance, the Filipinos made a good scoring run to start creating the gap.

The Philippines had the offensive advantage over Jordan but the Middle Eastern team had the edge in the rebounding department in the first quarter.

Coach Tim Cone did a very good job in instructing his wards to contain Rondae Hollis-Jefferson as the NBA veteran couldn’t find his range in the opener that paved the way for the Philippines to control the game.

Justin Brownlee who was the tournament leading scorer maintained his hot hands from behind the arc and closed the opening period with a 17-12 lead.

Not a good second quarter start for the Philippines as the team logged 2 early fouls in under a minute.

Ange Kouame was Coach Cone’s “magic bunot” in the first half. The former Blue Eagle was terrific defensively with 3 steals and a couple of blocks to help the Philippines list its first double-digit lead of the game.

The Jordanians made back-to-back three pointers mid in the second quarter to promptly cut the lead to just 7. Noticeably, Hollis-Jefferson started to connect his shots after a scoring woe.

At the 2-minute warning, the Jordanians tied the game with a 13-0 scoring blitz and put the Philippines into panic mode.

The Filipinos all of a sudden became sloppy and wasted a handful of opportunities that opened the gates for the Jodanians to tie the game 31 apiece after the first 20 minutes.

Second quarter was indeed a terrible one for the Philippines. Not only did Jordan catch up, but the nationals just made a single field goal.

Gilas Pilipinas made some adjustments during the halftime break and executed the plans in the third period which paid off as the squad reclaimed the lead immediately.

Chris Newsome was quite a revelation in the penultimate quarter as the Meralco guard did well in defending Hollis-Jefferson and contributed significant numbers to the team’s quarter-success.

Gilas Pilipinas completely redeemed itself in the third and posted another double-digit lead, 51-41 entering the championship quarter.

Gilas Pilipinas stuck with its game plan in the fourth quarter which was not to rush and take care of its decent lead.

Brownlee who was hot in the first quarter became silent in the second half. In contrast, Hollis-Jefferson was inch-by-inch closing the margin with over 6 minutes in the game clock.

Despite the advantage, Gilas Pilipinas’ problem of not grabbing the boards on loose balls still persisted.

Brownlee might have been quiet in the crucial quarter. But Thompson and Kouame took charge of the scoring chores to maintain Philippines’ lead.

The Philippines possessed an 8-point lead in the final 2 minutes. However, Brownlee has committed 4 personal fouls. Great thing that his counterpart wasn’t explosive as well and even missed some crucial shots.

Less than a minute left, Gilas Pilipinas held onto a double-digit lead. Hollis-Jefferson refused to go down without swinging but it was too late as the Philippines melted the clock and got away with a 70-60 gold medal victory.

With the Asian Games basketball title, the Philippines is once again the continental champion after 61 long years.

𝟒𝐓𝐇 𝐆𝐎𝐋𝐃 𝐌𝐄𝐃𝐀𝐋 🥇🏀 Congratulations to Gilas Pilipinas for capturing the country’s historic gold via a masterful revenge...

Posted by Philippine Sports Commission on Friday, October 6, 2023

The Scores

Philippines 70 – Brownlee 14, Kouame 14, Newsome 13, Thompson 11, Oftana 5, Aguilar 3, Perez 2, Alas 2, Fajardo 0.

Jordan 60 – Hollis-Jefferson 24, Ibrahim 13, Al Dwairi 8, Alhamarsheh 6, Bohannon 4, Bzai 3, Hussein 2, Alhendi 0, Kanaan 0.

Quarters: 17-12, 31-31, 51-41, 70-60.

Congratulations, Gilas!

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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